Academic career levels

The University of Helsinki has adopted a four level career path generating a matrix for academic career progress.

Qualification requirements

Academic portfolio

Level 4


An appointee to a professorship shall hold a doctoral degree and have top-level scholarly qualifications, experience in the supervision of scientific research, the ability to provide top-level teaching based on research and to supervise theses and dissertations as well as documentation of international cooperation in the research field that the appointee represents.

Research dir­ector

Level 3

As­sist­ant or as­so­ci­ate pro­fessor (ten­ure track po­s­i­tions)

The competitive and transparent Helsinki tenure track model attracts top scientists from all over the world. With over 70 assistant and associate professors, the University of Helsinki is an attractive research and teaching environment.

More information: Tenure track at the University of Helsinki

Uni­versity lec­turer and clin­ical in­structor

In the University of Helsinki career system, university lecturers are senior researchers working independently on their field of science. The tasks can have a teaching or research emphasis. To support their career progress, university lecturers are encouraged to apply for tenure track positions.

Uni­versity re­searcher and senior re­searcher

The positions of university researcher and senior researcher require the ability to lead a research group and obtain supplementary research funding. The position of research coordinator requires the ability to administer research projects and their finances.

Research co­ordin­ator

Level 2

Post-doctoral researcher

This position is typically held for 3-5 years after completing the doctoral degree.

Uni­versity in­structor

Pedagogical training and the ability to produce learning material are required in this position.

Level 1

Doc­toral edu­ca­tion and salar­ied doc­toral po­s­i­tions

The University of Helsinki has four doctoral schools and 32 doctoral programmes covering all research fields at the University. All University of Helsinki doctoral students study at one of these programmes. Salaried doctoral positions are offered for full-time employment of one to four years.

More information: Doctoral education at the University of Helsinki

Other possible titles in the Finnish academic system

Academy Fellow / Academy Research Fellow

Academy of Finland (AoF)  is the major public provider of research grants (does not have its own institutes). Fellows are 5-year PI positions provided to universities etc. and come with funding of 50-100 000 euros/year. They are only provided once.

Academy post-doctoral fellowship

See above: post-doctoral fellowships are 3-year grants for salary of post doc and in some instances limited running costs. Grants are only provided once and relatively often are for 2nd post docs following a period abroad with international funding.

Docent (may unofficially be used as Adjunct professor)

Finnish universities provide the title “Docent” for researchers that have advanced clearly from PhD with variable criteria, but typically display some independence; alternatively publish a number of publications. The title provides a license to supervise doctorate studies. It is not associated with any legal affiliation with providing university. The term “Adjunct professor” is sometimes confusingly used as a translation of “Docent”.

Vis­it­ing re­search­er

The University of Helsinki welcomes visiting researchers and visiting professors.

Grant-fun­ded researcher

Research at the University can be conducted with a personal grant awarded directly to the researcher by a foundation or other institution.


A traineeship offers you the chance to demonstrate your competence, but above all to learn more about working as a professional.